English Words With Arabic Origins

  • Publish date: Friday، 16 December 2022 Last update: Monday، 15 May 2023
English Words With Arabic Origins

Since, 2012, UNESCO has designated December 18th as World Arabic Language Day. Arabic is spoken by over 400 million people across the world, predominantly in the Middle East and North Africa.  However, the influence and reach of the Arabic language has exceeded the region and hence provided the origins for several English words that we know and use on daily basis. Below are some of these words and their original meaning: 

Here are some of the English words from Arabic Origin:

  • Admiral

Comes from the Arabic word 'Amir' أمير . An Amir is a prince.

  • Guitar 

Known in Arabic as 'Qethara' قيثارة or "Qethar" قيثار . In Arabic a Qethara is the Harp musical instrument. 

  • Mascara 

Derived from the word 'Maskhara' مسخرة. Clowns used to color their faces using it. Maskhara refers to 'something made fun of' or comic in nature.

  • Alcohol

Is orginally derived from the word 'Kohl' كحل, which is a traditional pigment used to line the eyes. 

  • Magazine

Originates from the word 'Makhazin' مخازن which means storage units.

  • Camera

Comes from the Arabic word 'Qumra' قُمرة,  Qumra means the dark room.

  • Cable

Taken from the Arabic word 'Habl' حبل. Habl is a thick rope.

  • Cipher

Known in arabic as 'Chefra' شيفرة. Is a code whether in numbers or other coding systems.

  • Captain

Derived from the word 'Cuptan' قبطان. Has the same meaning as the English word, a leader or a pilot.

  • Cheque

A dervative of the word 'Sak" صك. Which the Arabic term for a financial property paper, or an actual cheque.

  • Sugar

From the Arabic term 'Sukar' سكر. Also means sugar.

  • Rice

Comes from the word 'Roz' رز. Also means rice.

  • Cotton

Known as 'Koton' قطن which also means cotton.

  • Mirror

Originates from the word 'Mir'aa' مرآة. Also means a mirror in Arabic.

  • Qarat

Has the same meaning in Arabic, and comes from 'Kerat' قيراط.

  • Tobacco

The same meaning but in Arabic its 'Tabgh' تبغ.

  • Octopus

Has also the same meaning of the sea creature, and is derived from 'Akhtapot' اخطبوط.

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